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Saratoga’s Grand Summer #3 - 2009
by Dick Healy

A medley of Broadway and Hollywood music came to Saratoga’s Performing Arts Center last Thursday where Oscar winning composer, Marvin Hamlisch, no stranger to the Spa City, conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra which included the overture to his Pulitzer Prize musical, Chorus Line.

For those of us old enough to remember, listening to the full majesty of Hamlisch’s arrangements featuring songs of Irving Berlin, Rogers and Hart, and Jerome Kern, it was reminiscence of the haunting Hollywood scores of late composer, Max Sterner, 1939 Gone with the Wind and such.

Composers of Hamlisch’s caliber, as illustrated at SPAC, seem to lift an orchestra’s performance to its fullest potential. The audience quietly hummed along when Hamlisch conducted one of his most recognized compositions from “ The Way We Were” and swayed in their seats with the lively rendition of his equally popular score from the movie “The Sting.”

One of SPAC’s main features, is ample parking, not far from the famous Hall of Springs building that was build during the depression era year 1934. Dinner in the Hall prior to concert time makes for splendid evening out. Strolling about the vast grounds makes you realize how far forward thinking the designers were when they laid out the redbrick and sandstone complex.

What is recognizable as Saratoga continues to establish itself as one of America’s mostly sought after cities by a new crop of upscale, urban seeking professionals, is that SPAC, in addition to the famous Race Course, is a key venue in attracting Saratoga’s new dwellers.

As for the Race Course, late August attendance figures are up 8.4 percent, on track handle up 12.3 percent and all sources handle up 4.8 percent from 2008 totals midway through the 2009 meet, following good weather and a highly respected field or top thoroughbreds racing.

This is all leading into Saturday, August 29 when the Grade 1 Shadwell Travers stakes takes place. The season will close out its last week with the Grade 1 Woodward and the Grade 1 Three Chimneys Hopeful.

More by Dick Healy




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